Out of control - HELP !!

(7 Posts)
gillian3985 Thu 03-Mar-16 08:20:13

Good Morning,
Daughter attends small,rural,successful,secondary school with Good Ofsted rating.
Daughter coming up to GCSE,s and is set b for Maths.Her Maths teacher is an established teacher at the school and is Head of Maths.
The problem I have is poor discipline and bad student behaviour in the maths class is affecting mine and others daughters learning at this crucial time.I have listened to mobile phone coverage taking covertly of this behaviour which makes my blood boil.Some students routinely spend all lessons on their phones watching movies.So concerned was I about my daughters progress that she now has weekly private tuition lessons away from the school.I emailed the Head pointing out I was concerned about lack of progress (the class below have a strict teacher who sets work which is completed in silence-they are making more progress)and mentioned the chaotic lessons.I got a call from the Dep Head making all the right noises and saying useful revision classes after school were coming up that my daughter would find useful.They were obviously aware of the discipline problems as Dep Head let slip he was one of the few teachers who is subject to "drop ins" from the leadership team.
She promised to have a word with my daughter to encourage her to go to the revision classes but the problem is my daughter has lost faith with the Maths lessons and feels most of her learning is done with the tutor.
A week on and nothing has changed,the Dep Head did not keep her promise to speak to my daughter,the disruption continues and guess what...my hope that she would make progress at these revision lessons attended by like minded studious pupils....well ....with the Prom coming up the school have issued a "Prom Passport"...if you dont attend all the revision classes then you cant go to the Prom....likelihood is the revision classes will be more ...chaos classes.
I have another parent on board who is as fed up as I am and we are likely to join forces and approach the school....but how is best to do it ?

tiggytape Thu 03-Mar-16 10:23:59

In that situation, I think you need to make a conscious effort to be factual but persistent and, if necessary, escalate your complaint up a stage each time you exhaust one level of the complaints' procedure.

So whilst it is tempting to ring the Head and complain that maths is a complete zoo and they are not learning anything, try to do things in writing and be very calm and specific and address the right person each time.

So start with the Head of Maths and then if necessary the Deputy Head (or the Deputy who deals with academic matters and the curriculum if there is more than one) and then the Head and then the Governors.

And at each stage put your concerns very clearly in writing with factual descriptions of what concerns you and the direct impact it is having on DD eg

"I am concerned that the considerable time it takes to deal with disruption in DD's is interfering with the learning of the rest of the class. For example in maths today, three boys had to be sent out for watching YouTube on their phones. The boys refused to put their phones away, argued loudly that they were looking up maths-related content, refused to have their phones confiscated and then stormed out. The teacher spent 25 minutes in total dealing with all of this by which time other students were chatting and the lesson didn't fully resume until 10 minutes before the bell. As such the class only covered two examples in the entire 50 minute lesson.

Keep a log of any incidents in the class that you hear about (eg lesson times and dates where the chaos is especially bad). If the Head of Maths cannot offer reassurance or if they put things in place that don't work, write next time to the Deputy and then the Head etc.

Give people time to respond and also time to put changes in place but make it clear that this is having a direct impact on DD's learning and needs to be resolved even if they have to change classes around or have a senior member of staff shadowing lessons etc.

MEgirl Thu 03-Mar-16 14:12:19

Swap Maths for English and this was our situation last year. We wrote to the Head of Department who passed it on to their line manager. We were told that they were dealing with the situation. We emailed the Head Teacher who never replied. The teacher we complained about is teaching DD this year and she has learnt very little. We did complain to another English teacher who is sharing the class and is doing her best to keep them on track but we've more or less written off this year. Their reason for not getting rid of the teacher and replacing her is the lack of available replacements.

We spent a fortune on a tutor and luckily were successful in passing the GCSE but left with no extra support we would have had a massive failure on our hands.

Brainiac Thu 03-Mar-16 15:54:25

Oh dear, sounds too bad too be true. But I hear it is true. Maths is key. Maybe try talking to one of our Maths Brainiacs or sign up to the forthcoming "Ace You GCCE Maths" webinars. Brainac.club. Keen to hear your feedback. Can highly recommend someone, William is an amazing maths tutor, currently at Oxford, might help with inspiration & motivation. Good luck

gillian3985 Thu 03-Mar-16 22:45:30

Thanks for the advice but sadly time is not on our side what with the GCSE,s only weeks away.Also the aggravating feature is the teacher is Head of Maths !

tiggytape Thu 03-Mar-16 22:54:33

That's not good. Any chance they'll allow a change of class for DD?
Realistically, even if they start making improvements straight away (and they might not - or they might not work very quickly), it isn't likely to turn things around speedily enough to get much meaningful lesson time between now and the exams.

admission Thu 03-Mar-16 23:03:41

If the school are taking any of this seriously then they will be undertaking a clear program of class visits to see this teacher teach and then offering advice etc on how to improve the lessons. I would not expect this to be divulged to anybody but drop ins are useless, it needs to be proper observations.
You real complication is that they are head of maths and as such should be the best teacher in the department, which is clearly not the case. If there is no discernible improvement then I think I would make a formal written complaint about the teacher to the head teacher and see where that leads. I

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